Category Archives: celebrity

Beauty in the Movies: 9 to 5

The transition from freelancing at home to commuting and working full-time has been a major contributing factor to my recent lack of blog posts. So it’s only appropriate that the return of ‘Beauty in the Movies’ features the charmingly adorable 1980s work place comedy 9 to 5.


9 to 5 is a female buddy comedy in which three female co-workers accidentally kidnap their sexist, terrible boss and then, with him safely under house arrest, work together to make the office a much better place for everyone.


There are an abundance of great scenes between the leading ladies (Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda) but one of the best moments comes after the three women have each had a hellish day at the office and decide to get high on a joint given to Lily Tomlin’s character by her son.


“Is that one of those marijuana cigarettes?”


While stoned, they each indulge in a workplace fantasy and live out a take-down of their evil superior. Lily Tomlin’s fantasy of herself as a Disney-like princess is by far the best, cartoon animals and all. Adorable.


One of the sillier parts of the movie is the S+M like contraption the women rig up to keep their boss (Dabney Coleman) from escaping while they make changes back at the office.

Dabney Coleman 9 to 5

This film deals with some workplace issues that are still very relevant more than 30 years later. Workplace sexism is the most obvious obstacle the women face, but girl-on-girl crimes and workplace dissatisfaction lie beneath the sometimes slapstick plot of the film. Dolly Parton’s character, Doralee, is sexually harassed by her boss on a daily basis, but it is equally upsetting when the other women in the office assume she’s sleeping with him and then ostracize her for it.


(Doesn’t sad Dolly just break your little heart?)

It seems the other women’s assumptions are due in part to Dolly’s clothing, makeup, and overall Parton-ish style (epic bosom included). Sadly, women judging other women based on their appearance and forming false opinions about their sex-lives, intellect, morality, etc., is something I’ve seen happen in every office I’ve ever worked in. It’s pretty sad to think those two ladies almost missed out on being friends with Doralee because of their own misconceptions.


There are other aspects of office life that haven’t changed since 1980, example #1:

Copiers are devil-monsters sent from Hades to make your life miserable. I’m pretty sure the one at my office has an angry spirit living inside, it chews paper instead of printing it, always has a jam in a mystery tray, and has also burned me twice. I’m right there with Jane Fonda in this scene.


As Dolly says, working 9 to 5 can sure drive you crazy if you let it, but there is really nothing better than some sassy, smart, supportive friends to help make your office a fun place to be.


…and happy hour never hurts either — cheers!


Filed under Beauty in the movies, shopping, celebrity, fashion

I’m Coming Back…

…at least I’m going to try to! I know a year and a half is a long break, but I’ve missed posting here. I’m going to scale things back a bit and try to keep things simple this time.

So, what re-inspired me to start posting again? It was none other than one of my first ever beauty inspirations, an actress I have loved since I first set eyes on her in a glorious peasant blouse/vest/jeans/loafers outfit combo in the movie that most informed my childhood; Labyrinth.


It was her answer to the following question in the most recent issue of Glamour:

GLAMOUR: You have a baby daughter. What will you teach her about beauty?

JC: She can teach me a thing or two. But mostly: confidence. I was just working in Iceland and I saw this woman in a crazy scarf with colored tassels and her hair way up in a side ponytail…If she got photographed, Cindi [Leive, Glamour’s editor-in-chief] might have her on the Don’ts page! But it was her thing. It was full of color, and she was full of life. If something is right for you, it becomes a Do.


Well said Ms. Connelly, very well said. Glamour is one of the more acceptance-minded magazines out there (which isn’t saying much), but I’ve always found their “Do’s and Don’ts” feature to be kind of gross and mean, definitely the opposite of accepting. I’m a firm believer that there are no RULES in beauty, fashion, art, or anything else that is about expressing yourself. Major Kudos to Jennifer Connelly for pointing that out to them in their own magazine — and reminding me that it’s a subject I don’t want to stop talking about.


Filed under acceptance, celebrity

Guest Post: Maria’s 5 Fashionable Female Leads in Film

In place of ‘Beauty in the Movies’ this week I present to you a guest post in which the lovely and talented Maria Rainier shares her ‘top five favorite fashionable films’—now that’s a mouthful! Enjoy, and many thanks to Maria.


Disclaimer: I am no expert on fashion.  In fact, one of the last things I notice in a movie—after cinematography, script, acting, editing, what other movies the actors and actresses were in—is what said actors and actresses are wearing.  If their acting is impressive and they have nice smiles, that’s usually as deep as I’ll go.

See, that’s what makes the following list special: I don’t pay much attention to fashion, but the following actresses had something going on strong enough to make me remember to look at my own closet after the movie was done.

Marion Cotillard in Public Enemies

Marion plays Billie Frechette, who, until meeting the dangerous and dashing John Dillinger, hasn’t had much opportunity to wear anything nice.  She pulls off Depression Era glam like few actresses could.

I find myself envying her circa 1930s bob and fur-lined coats because a) I could never get my hair to look like that and b) I’m an animal lover and even prefer not to wear faux fur.  So much for that.

Audrey Tautou in Amélie

A girl as sweet, childlike, and silly as Amélie could only wear light, delicate, feminine fabrics.  She’s the girl who can effortlessly pull off polka-dots or stripes, lots of red and green, and a (circa 5th grade) my-mom-cut-my-hair trim without looking like, well, a 5th grader.

Everything she wears is endearing and simple—old-fashioned camisoles, mandarin collars, a-line skirts, and a simple retro flair.

Much of it says that Amélie doesn’t really care how she looks as long as it’s comfortable and fits—she’s too busy trying to make the world a nicer place, anyway.

Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

If I have a girl-crush on anyone, it’s Angie, if nothing for the fact that she can pull off a leather S&M outfit, a classy black dress, and a suit jacket in the same movie.  Anyone would agree that although Angelina’s perfect bone structure and pouty lips are her claim to fame, it’s her confidence that really screams, “I’ll wear what I want.”

I mean, what does she have to be insecure about (besides her failing marriage, of course)?  She’s a successful spy, she works in a skyscraper with high-tech computers and pressed suits, and she can escape a sticky situation with a zipline and a handgun.

Okay, most of us don’t have these things or the kind of confidence that goes with them.  Still, if all of us were half as comfortable in our own skins as Angelina appears to be, at least in this film as Mrs. Smith, the world would be a much sexier place.

Mila Kunis in Book of Eli

No, I don’t think we should all stop washing our clothes and wear overalls everywhere.

If anyone convinced me to buy a pair of Oakleys, though, it was Mila Kunis (and everyone else in Book of Eli).

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

If you ever wondered where the idea of the “little black dress” came from, you’re looking at her now.

Lovely Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly embodies timeless glam in this Hollywood classic, complete with huge pearls, thick sunglasses, and simple makeup choices.



Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and what it takes to succeed as a student getting an online associates degree remotely from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.



Filed under celebrity

A Moment For Elizabeth Taylor

We suffered a sad loss yesterday with the death of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, but I have no doubt the enormous life she lived will be remembered for generations to come. Not just for the films she made and the men she married, but for her activism and her vivacious spirit which failed to diminish through sickness and old age. More than anyone I can think of, Liz Taylor was a born star. With striking features including violet eyes and a mutation that gave her an extra set of eyelashes, she could have easily ended up just another pretty face, but instead she became a legend.

My favorite Liz Taylor story is this; Princess Margaret spotted the 39-carat Krupp diamond (given to her by husband Richard Burton) on Elizabeth Taylor’s finger and exclaimed, “That’s the most vulgar thing I’ve ever seen!”. Taylor offered to let her try the “vulgar” jewel on, and watched as the Princess admired the enormous diamond. The quick-witted Taylor then famously quipped: “See? It’s not so vulgar now, is it?”.

It’s a perfect example of what was so lovable about Elizabeth Taylor. She was elegant, graceful and praised for her acting abilities, but she didn’t pretend to be something she wasn’t. She didn’t care if she was considered vulgar, in fact she enjoyed it. So many stars today are trying so hard to appear “classy” by painting themselves as humble and relate-able, but they aren’t, we all know they’re making millions and living a lavish life. Elizabeth Taylor had a forthrightness that couldn’t help but be charming. She was passionate, talented, tough, and always appeared to have a magnificent sense of humor. This is a woman who pulled a tooth from actor, and close friend, Montgomery Clift’s throat as he choked after a car accident. She survived alcoholism, spousal abuse, tabloid insults, 8 marriages, a husband’s sudden death, 5 broken backs, 2 hip replacements, a brain tumor, skin cancer, and an emergency tracheotomy. She was a matriarch, a survivor, a force to be reckoned with, and an inspiration for all women to be who they are and live their lives without apology. Here’s to you Ms. Taylor.


Filed under celebrity

Oscar Beauties

I, like many, watch the Oscars for the clothes. If everyone was wearing jeans and sneakers it just wouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s the gowns, the hair, and the insanely expensive jewelry that make it worth watching. Those displays of glamour that most of us will never get to touch in our lifetimes so we live them vicariously through celebrities instead.

The whole idea of the Oscars is way overblown, it’s great that celebrities have awards ceremonies just like many other professions do, but the seriousness with which the show is presented makes the event seem a touch too self-congratulatory. For a show that is celebrating entertainment it never comes off as light and fun, it’s aggrandized and phony, plus there’s something incredibly dated about it. Obviously the Academy knows this and therefore chose “young and hip” actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host this year. Unfortunately it didn’t really work so well.

The result was Hathaway and Franco appearing uncomfortable with the grandness of the show—Anne Hathaway literally seemed like she was playing dress up and trying a bit too hard (though who could blame her?), and Franco’s way of dealing with the pressure was to act totally bored. The set, the overly dramatic music, and the cheesy writing all seem to stay the same year after year. You would think this time around with the push to appeal to younger viewers they would have changed things up aside from just the hosts. It’s weird because if the Oscars are really just an award show to celebrate achievements in the field of cinema, why do they need to appeal to anyone?

Anyway, like I said, I tune in for the clothes. The show itself drags on forever and always seems disappointing because nothing all that interesting happens. As awards shows go, it’s the biggest, but it’s also the most stuck-up which means all the stars are nervous and on their best behavior, which makes things boring. Pretty dresses however, are always fun to look at. This year my favorite by far was Mila Kunis in Elie Saab, I’m a sucker for purple. I like it when people take risks so I might be in the minority of people who loved Cate Balnchett’s Givenchy gown as well. Here are some other things I liked:

Michelle Williams and her simple but pretty hair, makeup, and earrings. She always gets it right, but also manages to keep things interesting at the same time.

Hailee Steinfeld’s youthful makeup, and her eyebrows which were thankfully left alone rather than plucked into oblivion leaving her looking as beautiful and happy as any 14-year-old at the Oscars should be.

I think it’s so funny when people on E! or other red carpet fashion round-ups make fun of Helena Bonham Carter because obviously she doesn’t give two shits what any of them think and she just wears what she wants. How can you not love that? I love her hair, her fan, her husband, and the way she sticks to her personal style no matter what.

I didn’t love Nicole Kidman’s dress, but I did love her big diamond necklace from Fred Leighton.
Also wasn’t a fan of Reese Witherspoon’s 90s prom looking black-and-white dress, but I did quite like her big sixties hair.
Anne Hathaway showed once again that she is at heart a (sometimes awkward) musical theater geek, but her Lanvin tuxedo was cute, and I especially like her custom Swarovski crystal covered heels.
Let’s hear it, who wore your favorite gowns, hair, or accessories?


Filed under celebrity, fashion

Broken Ballerinas

When I was 5-years-old I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I was obsessed by pink slippers and black leotards and most especially tutus. I changed into my pink sequined tutu when I got home from preschool, and I idolized my babysitter who studied ballet at LaGuardia High School and wore high ponytails and motorcycle boots. She gave me a pair of her toe shoes which I carried around in my backpack for most of first grade, maybe to impress my friends, but also just because I loved them. There is something so beautiful, so elegant, so feminine about ballet. It may be the most graceful art, but it is also the most disciplined. Which is why after age 7 I lost my patience for it and took to drawing on my walls instead—the visual arts are far more freeing.

I saw Black Swan a few weeks ago and then last week I saw The Red Shoes for the first time. Both films are set in the excruciatingly perfect world of ballet, and both are beautiful and devastating as they linger in your thoughts for days. There is no room for error in ballet, the movements must be perfect. If you can’t get your body to perform with the required grace, you either work harder, or give up. Part of the fascination with ballet (aside from the beautiful costumes and sets), is the perfection—it’s exhausting to watch at times, but when performed with ease, it’s completely mesmerizing.

Both the protagonist in The Red Shoes, Vickie Paige, and in Black Swan, Nina Sayers, are forced to make enormous sacrifices for their art—love, family, health, even sanity. The two films look at the world of ballet from the back, and both show us the physical and mental torment that come with the quest for perfection. Obviously not all ballerinas have nervous breakdowns, but it does seem that, more than other art forms, ballet projects the idea of beauty through pain. Maybe that feeds our fascination, or maybe it’s just the pretty costumes and the breathtaking elegance. Either way, both these films give deeply effective portrayals of the complexity of the ballet world and the dancers within them. There is the expected theatrical drama of who will get the lead and who will succeed, but it’s the vice-like pressure, the fear of failure, and the need to be the “ideal” that acts as the driving force. The pressure isn’t just from overbearing directors, or mothers, but all the more disturbingly, from within the individual.

Whether you’re a fan of ballet or you think Swan Lake is danced by hippos and ostriches, you will find yourself caught up in these films. While Black Swan takes the viewer on a spiraling trip into the psyche (the actual dancing not being very important), The Red Shoes delivers a heartbreaking account of impossible choice (with incredible dancing), both films make clear that an artist cannot achieve perfection without a certain degree of sacrifice. In the end, it is left to us to decide whether we believe the sacrifice was worth it.

I can’t take screen-shots of Black Swan because it’s not out on DVD yet, but The Red Shoes is simply gorgeous, here are some stills to convince you to see it.

Look, 40s era costumes with ballet slippers—how can you not love that?

Is this not gorgeous?

At a certain point it’s so beautiful, it doesn’t even look real anymore.

This post is pretty much just an excuse for me to do two things, 1. tell you to watch both of these amazing movies, and 2. make a pretty ballet collage on Polyvore. I hope I’ve gotten through to you on the first point, and see below for the second—I’ve never outgrown my 5-year-old self’s love of ballet inspired pieces, and I still love tutus—don’t you?

Odette / Odille by justinez featuring a ballet skirt

Lover Muse lace dress
$935 –
Lace dresses »

Black Feather Dress**
110 GBP –
Black cocktail dresses »

Organic Bamboo Drape Dress
149 GBP –
Wedge dress »

Relevé Dress
$78 –
Print dresses »

Ladies Shrug
10 GBP –
Shrug cardigan »

Tanya Tie Front Shrug
42 GBP –
Bolero cardigans »

White feather shrug
49 GBP –
White tops »

Lanvin skirts BLACK
1,365 GBP –
Black skirts »

vita viscose bodysuit
$48 –
French Connection »

Kia Luxury Leggings by Theory
161 GBP –
Leggings »

Repetto Bolchoi Metal
$350 –
Flat pumps »

Ladies Ribbon Bow Belt
8 GBP –
Ribbon belts »

Classic crystal tiara
35 GBP –
Crystal hair accessories »

NARS Night Collection Eyeshadow
$23 –


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Pee-wee on Broadway

Last Wednesday I saw Pee-wee Herman on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim theater, and it was amazing. I personally think Pee-wee is one of the best comic characters ever created, but seeing the show last week brought me right back to the Saturday mornings of my childhood, when my sister and I would plop in front of the TV drinking our carnation instant breakfast trying not to wake our parents while we giggled at Pee-wee and his friend’s weekly hi-jinks.

There are some new characters in the show who take a bit of getting used to, but by the end you love them all and you don’t want it to end (unless you are the theater reviewer for the NY Times). The original Miss Yvonne and Jambi were there, and Chairry was adorable as usual. Pee-wee of course delivered all of his classic jokes from the movie and TV show, along with lots of innuendo loaded new ones. The most unbelievable part of the whole show was that Paul Reubens at 58 is as spry and magnetic as ever! There must be a talking fountain of youth somewhere in puppetland.

I hate to get into Paul Reubens’ past scandals but I feel I have to mention them especially since there are some people who still go “ick” if you mention Pee-wee Herman. Reubens was infamously arrested for indecent exposure (and alleged masturbation) at a Florida porno theater in 1991. The arrest was so over-hyped by the media at the time, that I didn’t realize until I was an adult what had actually happened. I’d assumed it had been molestation or rape or some other truly monstrous behavior that had caused our beloved Pee-wee to vanish. Obviously Reubens’ actions weren’t very prudent (especially as a kid’s TV host) but they hardly matched the disgust and outrage that was hurled at him afterward.

Reubens’ regret for his behavior, which caused his absence from the industry (he made some sporadic appearances) for nearly twenty years, cannot be denied. Loads of celebrities who’ve done truly horrible, reckless, and violent things have only shown as much remorse as deemed necessary by their publicists. Reubens always took his job as a role-model incredibly seriously, and his disappearance from acting was most likely caused by his own disappointment in himself and the image that was stamped on him. As a child who grew up loving Pee-Wee I found the treatment of the “scandal” by the media, the condemnation, the obsessive coverage, by far the most upsetting part of the whole incident—I guess they weren’t really concerned about what the children thought though.

Scandals aside, Pee-wee Herman is an American pop culture icon who has endured despite being out of the spotlight, and the butt of jokes, for twenty years which is pretty darn impressive. When you go to the Pee-wee Herman show and the curtains draw back, your childhood sits happily before you again. Whether you’re screaming for the word-of-the-day or shouting Jambi’s magic incantation, it’s hard not feel like you’re back on your couch on Saturday morning. Pee-wee is so much more than just nostalgia, he is inventive and new even after all these years. While less manic than he used to be, Reubens still captures the snotty, but kind-hearted charm of his beloved character.

It’s kind of funny that Pee-wee’s playhouse was inspired by the kids shows of the 1950s like Captain Kangaroo, and now Paul Reubens fits that character better than he did in his younger years. Pee-wee is somehow cuter, funnier, and maybe even more endearing with a bit of paunch and some wrinkles, don’t ask me why, but it’s true.

The loathing launched on Reubens in 1991 was due mostly to his role as a kid’s show character, which might explain why the past two decades haven’t had any interesting hosts in the tradition of Mr. Rogers or Captain Kangaroo—cartoons and puppets are far less likely to incur scandal. It’s a shame because Pee-Wee’s Playhouse was a smart, funny, creative show that focused on art, morals, and diversity without talking down to kids, and it could be enjoyed by parents too, unlike a lot of other children’s programming out there.

The tickets to the show on Broadway are definitely pricey, but if you’re a big fan looking for a night of nostalgia, it’s worth it. No worries though, this isn’t the last of Pee-wee, Judd Apatow and Paul Reubens are working on a new Pee-wee movie for release in 2011, maybe we should all repeat Jambi’s magic words in a collective attempt to make sure this movie actually happens, it can’t hurt right?

The Pee-wee Herman show is running now through January 2nd, get more information and tickets here. A big “Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho” to all you Pee-wee fans out there, and may he continue to entertain and delight a whole new generation!


Filed under celebrity